Scaling your practice
Five success habits that can double your turnover
Analysing the success stories of leading doctors in private practice, we see these 5 best practices in action. In this article, we catch up with Expert Business Coach Dr Todd Cameron who helps GPs scale their practice.
Five success habits that can double your turnover
November 13, 2021
#1 Business coaching for doctors is critical
Habit #1: Improving business skills as a doctor
When I start asking strategic questions about a doctor’s business systems, we talk about lead generation and reputation management. Quite often the strategy session evolves to other adjacent business areas: from practice management, employer branding and compliance with regulations to recruitment.
On these topics, Dr Todd Cameron builds on over 20 years of experience in general practice and that includes a perfect demonstration of scaling your practice. In the video, he shares how he set up his first practice in 2003 and started using all the knowledge acquired from business books. He added more practices and they grew into a group that became part of an ASX-listed company. From $ 8 million to $170 million of revenue. He now runs business coaching programs through Scale My Clinic of which he is the co-founder.
He felt that GPs really needed a place to learn essential business skills.
"The reality is that I had gone through this. I had sought mentors and coaches. The challenge in medicine is that most doctors are lifelong learners but they are not really into collaborative learning. There was not really a place where you could go for this type of help."
These business skills are often in the doctor’s blind spot: The skills are not taught at medical school, and although we all know that it takes smart people to make great doctors, there is this gap and it could be costing you money.
‘I am not tech savvy’ is a comment I often hear when we do webinars and workshops on the topic of brand positioning or patient acquisition. Our team members often hear about other business skills in the doctors’ blind spots: recruitment, practice management and business planning for example.
Improving your basic business skills is an essential first step. After that, you are ready to recruit the right team members.
#2 Don't be happy with the first candidate when you recruit
habit #2: improve your recruitment skills
Quite a few doctors I work with radiate unlimited optimism right after they have hired someone. For some reason, the joy attached to the transaction seems to create an emotion similar to baby bliss when a newborn joins the family. Needless to add that quite often, when the day comes to remove this team member from the practice website, there is no longer any new team member bliss in a 20km radius around the building.
So what seems to be the challenge, finding good people to become partners, team members, allied health associates, nurses, receptionists or practice managers? Other than pandemic restrictions, what Todd Cameron sees is recruitment based on a less-than-ideal foundation.
What happens is that many practice owners go from despair (we need someone) to extreme loyalty (this person will change my practice forever) in no time. And then the transactional agreement is in place for as long as it works.
The conversation with expert business coach Todd Cameron above taught me another great aspect of scaling your practice: When you start looking at your recruitment process the way you look at your marketing funnel, you set up an entirely different process. One that starts with a clear definition of the standards you expect for the role, and one that focuses on seeing many good candidates.
With good team members, you can become an expert at delegating and remove that critical roadblock for growth that is about finding and retaining good people.
#3 Do not lose track of your numbers
habit #3: inspect the reward you get
- Fees: In private practice, the fees you charge for consultations, procedures and tests are the backbone of your private practice. Get clear on what generates good income, how that relates to the patient volumes you want to attract and the way you market your practice and its services to both GPs and the general public.
- Leads: The key driver of your private practice is the number of referrals and new patient leads. Take a look at the excellent resources in our Grow! section to help you improve your online visibility and lead generation. If you currently don’t have enough leads, book a consultation with our team to discuss the concept of cost-per-lead and the use of organic content for SEO or Google Ads to bring in more patient traffic.
- Costs: The structure you set up with your partners, shareholders, associated specialists, nurses or allied health professionals will define how profitable your practice is. Take a moment to inspect the nuts and bolts of your arrangements with third parties and revise this on a regular basis.
#4 Don't be the bottleneck & scale to sell
habit #4: consider your exit strategy
"What is common is that the leaders are the bottleneck. When you’ve got doctors as owners they’re typically quite intelligent people and they often think they are the best person to do things. The reality is that it’s not scalable if it’s you doing everything."
In other words, delegating is key if you ever want to turn your clinic into an asset and sell it. As Dr Todd Cameron from Scale My Clinic explains, we can now recruit team members in remote locations and communicate online. We can engage what he calls fractional expertise, in other words, organise your systems and tasks so some are done by team members who communicate online.
Building your business so it is ready to be sold is a great mindset twist. It means that – once you have done all this hard work, your business is also ready to be scaled.
#5 Create a brand to add value
habit #5: visualise the business you have in mind
If you take time to visualise what your practice will look like in 2, 5 or 10 years…what do you see?
That clear vision will help you filter the right people when you set up your recruitment funnel and it helps to create optimal clarity in your team. Everyone is now on the same page. Every team member works in the same direction. Appropriate leadership, effective management, your success ingredients are all in place and everything is now about scaling your practice.
The final key component is to create a strong brand. A name, tagline, a visual identity, content that aligns with the topics patients are googling for in your catchment area, and a flawless conversion system to guide patients through the information so they take the next step. Creating a strong brand experience is essential and scaling your practice without it will fail.
Why do we need all this brand stuff while we could do without 15 years ago?
Well, look at the extension of our upper limbs, the smartphones we have glued to the extremities weren’t there 15 years ago. More than 50% of all patients check information on their mobiles somewhere between the first symptom and the final choice of a specialist doctor. The brand experience starts when they either see you online or they don’t. So if you are serious about scaling your practice, do not forget to ask us how we can help you create a leading brand.